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IP Address Management, Part IV: Centralization

Cisco Prime Network Registrar is able to achieve a high level of efficiency and reliability because of its heterogeneous integration with the other tools operators are using to manage their networks.  Rather than being a separate tool that administrators have to go back and forth between, Cisco Prime Network Registrar provides centralized resource visibility and IP address management. And, with the ability to scale to high user counts, it provides reliable management capabilities for even the largest networks.

This centralized visibility is an important capability for simplifying IP address management.  For example, Read More »

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IP Address Management, Part III: Moving to IPv6

With the rapid depletion of IPv4 addresses, migrating to IPv6 is no longer an option for many organizations.  Part of the challenge operators face is that both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses will be used within the same network.  In addition, individual devices will often have both types of addresses, making it more difficult to accurately view the current network topology.

Having to manage both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses increases the complexity of every task associated with IPv4 resources.  When addresses are managed manually, operators have to first look up a resource’s IPv4 address and then configure the IPv6 address by hand.  Operators then have to set up the address on the DHCP server as well.  This simple operation takes several steps and involves inputting the same data into the system multiple times.  Given that IPv6 addresses are four times longer than IPv4 addresses, this increases Read More »

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IP Address Management, Part II: Automation and Inventory

Efficient management of network elements requires that operators track the IP addresses assigned to each device when they are attached to the network.  When discovery is managed manually, an operator may forget to email a confirmation or perform one of the crucial steps in the provisioning process.  Rather than requiring operators to perform these steps manually, the management system can automatically assign and record IP addresses as well as send any confirmations.  In addition, the system can receive commands and trigger flows back downstream to further automate processes and simplify the workflow.

Cisco Prime Network Registrar, for example, offers a broad scope of IP address management (IPAM) capabilities for automating discovery. IP addresses for new devices are immediately added to the network’s IP inventory, guaranteeing that they will not be overlooked or mistyped.

Cisco Prime Network Registrar also locates and identifies unknown devices on the network, including smartphones, routers, and printers users have provisioned themselves.  When an IP address is used without being formally allocated, this creates a potential conflict with mission-critical equipment that could result in network downtime that is difficult and time-consuming to troubleshoot. Operators can either remove these rogue devices from the network or formally discover them to shore up potential security vulnerabilities that might otherwise pass undetected.

The accuracy of the IP address inventory is maintained by refreshing it at regular intervals to ensure it still correlates to the ever-changing configuration of the network.  Maintaining an accurate inventory of IP addresses is critical to reliable network operation.  For example, by Read More »

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IP Address Management, Part I: Agility and Integration

The ability to deploy new equipment and services in a timely and cost-effective manner – a quality known as network agility– is crucial to maintaining profitability.  Bottlenecks that hinder deployment, reduce performance, or result in downtime add cost to every operation. For example, managing thousands of IP addresses by hand creates bottlenecks when provisioning and troubleshooting as well as increases the possibility of service outages caused by human error.

The growing complexity of networks further increases the difficulty of managing today’s networks.  Operators must accommodate new types of servers and clients, potentially from multiple vendors.  TCP/IP continues to connect more devices, resulting in a higher cost to manage each new device as the number of devices added to the network increases.  Furthermore, new technologies like IPv6, virtualization, cloud services, and mobile connectivity which increase management complexity drive the need for comprehensive, integrated, and feature-rich IP address management (IPAM) capabilities.

Agility enables Read More »

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IPv6 Peering, Part 1: Questions For Your Service Provider

July 16, 2012 at 9:35 am PST

Today, many organizations are focusing on how to integrate IPv6 services into their Internet edge. The World IPv6 Launch has come and gone with over 3000 sites now IPv6-enabled.  In addition, the US government has directed that all agencies must enable their Internet facing services for IPv6 by October 1st, 2012. These drivers are pushing organizations to take a harder look at how to approach IPv6 integration.  My next couple of posts will examine how to interface with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

The Internet edge is the point in your network where your organization will interface with the IPv6 Internet, and it is how customers will access your services. It is important that your ISP have the same Service Level Agreement (SLA) as your IPv4 point of attachment. After all, you are going to be running your business over both IPv4 and IPv6 for quite some time. To ensure that your ISP’s IPv6 services meet your business and technical requirements, I’ve compiled a list of questions to ask. The questions are grouped along the lines of how IPv6 is physically delivered, how the control plane is handled, and the services that are offered. The following are several example questions:

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